If you have been watching and listening to the discussion of Facebook’s transition to META and seen how they are demonstrating their technology, all of the messaging has been showing AR/VR headsets.
If you buy into the vision of the future that we will all play in the metaverse with avatars how can one play this trend? Will it be with headsets? Will it look real and feel real? Will we meet in groups in the metaverse instead of zoom calls. It is still too early to tell exactly how all this shakes out. But one company is taking the trend and running with it- The Glimpse Group- and with hardware, software and ecosystem assets they are bringing all this closer and closer to fruition. Facebook (now named Meta) has quietly gone on a buying spree in this are recently purchasing Within, Bigbox VR and Downpour Interactive.
In a statement from the company to Recode describing the strategy they said on the record “Investing in and building products that consumers want is the key to success. We cannot build the metaverse alone — collaboration with developers, creators, and experts will be critical. As we invest in the metaverse, we know that we face fierce competition from companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Snap, Sony, Roblox, Epic, and many others at every step of this journey.” The real question here seems moot- will Meta dominate the Metaverse with smaller, bolt-on acquisitions that will ultimately help them to over power other competitors as it has done with its social network? It seems that the power and enormous resources almost assures that the Metaverse will be dominated by Facebook or Meta or whatever they decide to call themselves in the future.
Smaller players are wary
How will the Metaverse really develop and exist in the future? Will it be more like a giant zoom call with Avatars or will it be an annoying, dizzying life with VR goggles on our heads all day? It appears that there is a clear vision in Mark Zuckerberg’s head that may or may not pan out. But it is clear that Meta will be investing BILLIONS of dollars to make its vision the one that ultimately succeeds. Right now it is clear that VR headsets will be the way to step into the Meta-vision universe and whether or not this is the way it proceeds forever is a question mark. How many other players in the space may Meta swallow in the future?
What other ways could we step into another dimension without using a headset that may or may not be something that will be worn all day, everyday to enter this brave new world? Could there be 3-D or 4-D computer screens that allow us to see, hear, smell and taste the Metaverse? Anything is possible but for now it seems the vision of the future is mostly in Mark’s head. One of the ideas currently circulating on Wall Street is the ability for users to buy clothing and accessories for their avatars in the Metaverse very much like kids can but virtual goods in games today. This could be one of the ways that Meta envisions making money in the future. Selling virtual goods to us in the Metaverse! Who wants to wear a cheap suit or dress in the virtual world?
For companies in the VR space the future seems very bright. Hopefully these firms will have options besides simply being absorbed by Meta or quiet anonymity. If there is good news in all of this it is that innovation will surely be a big part of the move toward the Metaverse. Like our space programs back in the last half of the 1990’s, lots of products came out of the innovation in space exploration. The Metaverse may not be the next expansion of our universe but it certainly will spawn much innovation.
Don’t even get me started on the Omniverse. More to come on this topic and the vision that Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia has put forward.